Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The phone is back on!

I'm back at home - the phone is back on.

Tomorrow is a national holiday here in Libya. We had hoped to be going to Tunis for the weekend, but that didn't work out. Hopefully we'll go for a nice long drive in the country instead. We are still deciding if we should drag any of the kids along - or leave them at home - or take a few - or drop them all off at their grandmother's house. I think we should dump them at their grandmothers. - Now don't get excited about that and try to think I'm being mean to my mother-in-law because they have all their aunts there with all the cousins to play with and in the end they will all probably end up at the farm.

Sara is all worried that I am not getting a whole ton of stuff packed. She thinks we should be bringing cushions to sit on, a bbq grill, the tea pot and a million other things. I told her we were going to bring just ourselves. 'What happens when we get hungry?' she asked. 'We'll stop someplace and get something to eat.' I replied. Libyans have this idea that if you go out for the day you MUST drag your entire kitchen and sitting room along. God forbid you actually have a relaxing day! I am NOT going to be worrying over cooking and washing up while I am out for the day. There's plenty of food available - I don't imagine we will die of starvation.

We'll see what happens. I will bring my camera along to document the day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Inside Myself

Inside Myself
I search to see what I can see
Inside myself

What can I see
Inside myself . . .

I see the past
Faded at the edges
Inside myself

Warm feelings of childhood
Growing up
Inside myself

Forever young
Inside myself

Inside myself

Inside myself

Inside myself

Adventures that I've taken
Some I wish to take
Inside myself

My life's dreams
Hopes and ambitions
Inside myself

Turning inward
Inside myself

Myself inside, Inside myself

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still no phone - and getting fed up fast

I am still without a telephone. It is a royal pain to be without a phone, but Mustafa says he doesn't feel like going and having it turned on. He says he is too busy. Hopefully he will go today. So in the meantime I am still having to use the internet cafe in my nieghbourhood. It is inconvienient and the computers are not as nice as mine is at home, not to mention the fact that if I need any of my files while I am at the internet they are all on my computer at home.

One thing sad thing that I have to face everytime I come to an internet cafe is the young 'ladies' who use the computers to make dates (?) for themselves. Today I'm working away on ploughing through my emails and I get a tap on the shoulder. I look up and it's two girls - or maybe ladies - it's hard to tell these days. They want to know how long I intend to stay. They want my computer because it has a good webcam. I give them a rather long look and tell them 'I'm sorry - you will have to wait.', and this is what they decide to do -choosing to sit at the computer directly next to me.

They get themselves all geared up - chatting with at least six guys at once while simultaneously talking to them on their cell phones. Actually it's really one girl doing most of the talking. The other one is about 15 years older than her and is mostly just telling her who to chat with - she is bossy. I'm curious and keep half an ear on what they are doing.

The older one keeps grabbing the phone and saying things like - 'You can see her in a minute - the webcam isn't free yet - here talk to her a bit.'The older one is in the meantime telling the younger girl/woman 'Don't bother with him, talk to this one'. and telling her what to type for the guys she is only chatting with. The younger one has all kinds of voice chats going on - sometimes she switches from Libyan Arabic and starts speaking Egyptian Arabic. I deduce that the older one is the pimp and the younger one is a prostitute.

The guys all want to see what she looks like(she is dark but has on lots of powder - to look lighter while on webcam). Every few minutes they turn to me and say 'Sister, are you gonna be finished soon?' - I just glare at them as a reply. After a bit they are really working themselves up. They've got a hot contact that really wants to see them first. 'Oh please sister, how much longer are you gonna be?' UUUghhh! I can feel my blood beginning to boil. They try holding the guy off by saying they will meet him outside - he should just drive by and look to see if he is interested, but the guy is not budging - he wants to see the goods on the webcam before he makes up his mind.

I am nearly finished with the computer. I am thinking about being nasty and uninstalling the webcam.

They say prostitution is the oldest profession. I guess Libyan prostitution has become modern. It's sad - and most of all I wish it weren't happening in my neighbourhood. . . sigh . . .

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The phone and other stuff

Yesterday I picked up the phone to make a call and had the sweet voice of the recording you get telling you that it's time to pay the phone bill. In Libya when it's time to pay the bill they just cut it off and you go in and pay it and they turn it back on again. They are nice enough to leave it on recieving calls for a few days - so please call me - I can't call you!

Paying is a two step process. Mustafa went to day to see how much the bill will be. He will come home and complain that the bill is too high and that we use the phone too much - then he will go and pay it. Hopefully he will pay it the same day - but sometimes he gets pissed off about it and since he really hates standing in lines too he may wait a few days. Keep your fingers crossed - I will be online from the comfort of my own home again in the near future, dressed in my pajamas. Until then I am down the street in the internet cafe with Arabic music blasting in the background and weirdos looking at my monitor hoping to get a glimps of my sign-in name for the messenger so they can send me weird messages.

The weather the past few days has been bearable. Last night after work Mustafa and I went out for a drive and headed out toward the beach. We like to go to a place called Sidi Andulsi which is actually the tomb of an old holyman from long ago. It is high on a hill overlooking the sea in Tajoura. There are some people that think the old holyman had special powers and they gather there occasionally to have some kinds of festivals called hadara. This is totally against Islam but it's very interesting to watch. Last night there was a hadara there and it was packed with people. They chant and work themselves into a frenzy - Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me.

Allah'Hi! Allah'Hi!

Friday, August 19, 2005



Yesterday I was at work and there was a knock on the door. The secretary said there was someone there to see me. She said 'I think it's your sister!' I was very curious and excused myself to see what it was all about. There in the lobby was my good friend Syd. What a surprise! She had come to see if I wanted to go out to grab a burger after work. I told her I would be finished in an hour and to come back and get me.

It was a wonderful surprise. We had a good time and I don't think that I have laughed that much in ages. We poured our hearts out, joked and gossiped. After we ate we took a spin around town.

The air conditioner in the car was so cold that the windows were fogging up. We drove through all the 'in spots' around town and window shopped from the car. – Who would want to get out and walk around in that heat? We oooohed and aaaaaahed at all the expensive stuff in the windows from the comfort of the car while we listened to music. It was like a drive thru-souk. When will Libyans get smart and make a proper air conditioned shopping mall? Oh well, this way we didn't spend anything.

After a few hours it was time to go home. Back to being a mom and a housewife again.

Thanks Syd for such a nice treat!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Weird Characters

Weird Characters

This new plug-in may be useful – but not if it throws in weird characters.

So here is a test to see what happens . . . .

I don’t like liver. I’ve never liked liver, and I probably will never like liver!
Hugs & Kisses
$1,000,000,000 = lots of money
(I could spend that really fast)
What is behind door # 2?

100% crazy – that’s what I am!

Well here goes . . . I will click on publish and see if I get any weird characters.

This could be useful

This could be useful

Blogger now has a plug-in for word – My typing is usual pretty bad and spelling sometimes not up to scratch either. I always hate using the spell check, but with Word it does that automatically. So I will check this out for a while and see if the Word plug-in will help.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Desktop challenge

The mess that is my desk . . . isn't there a saying about great minds come from cluttered desks . . . or something like that . . ? Posted by Picasa

I've often wondered what fellow blogger's desktops look like - are they cluttered messes like mine? Or neat and organized - I know Kris's desktop is very messy - but what about Highlander's, or Tareg's, or Nzingah's, or Lisa's, or Red Enclave's, or Unfettered Swallow's? Come on! - show us your desktop - I showed you mine! And link back - and pass on the challenge.

PhotoFriday - Violet

PhotoFriday - Violet Posted by Picasa

It seems like everything in my cabinet is violet these days - or is it lavender, or purple, or lilac, or mauve, or amethyst, or heliotrope, or plum, or eggplant, or periwinkle, or aubergine . . . .

Dental surgery

I had dental surgery last Saturday. I had a tooth that broke and needs a crown but the tooth broke below the gumine so I had to have gum surgery.

It was pretty awful and painful too. I think the dentist nearly pulled my tongue out of my mouth while he was trying to work - even though I was shot full of anesthetic I was miserable. The doctor told me to relax. I mean really! How on earth am I supposed to relax with someone crawling down my throat?

I hate going to the dentist - actually I think I would rather give birth than go to the dentist. I hate not being able to see what is going on and not being able to control the situation either.

When I got home from the dentist I went straight to bed. Ibrahim came and brought me all his stuffed animals and tucked them in with me under the blanket. He also made sure I had a nice cold bottle of water next to my bed and he kept pouring water for me. He can be such a sweety sometimes!

I am recovering - I didn't take any time off work, but I made sure I had all kinds of speaking activities for the students so they could be doing all the talking. I have to go back to the dentist on Saturday to have the stiches removed. I'm not sure when they will start on the crown. In the end it will cost a fortune . . . sigh . . .

Friday, August 12, 2005

Kickback Canyon

A few years ago someone got the idea that Libya needed a railway. So of course an ambitious project was started. All kinds of heavy equipment was moved in - lots of hustle and bustle. Then the project slowed down to a halt, but every once in a while someone would get ambitious again and a little more work would continue. The work has stopped for quite some time now - maybe over a year. The site looks desolate and the equipment sits on the sidelines turning into rusting, useless junk.

We've driven out many times to see the progress (or lack of it). It looks like a big canyon dug out of the earth. I guess the train tracks were supposed to be down in it and at main roads the tracks would go through tunnels or over bridges.

I named it Kickback Canyon because most likely this project was invented by someone who wanted to make some big money on kickbacks.

I had a look at it with Google Earth and it looks like a big gouge in the earth's surface. It is nearly 10 kilometers long, and many people had to be relocated because of this project. Often when people are relocated it takes them years and years to be reimbursed for the loss of their property. Sometimes people just give up chasing their money after years and years of running around after it.

It is sad to see this blight to the Libyan landscape. I wonder if this project will ever be completed . . . and I wonder how rich someone got, too. . . Posted by Picasa

We went to the farm today and picked grapes.

It was nice and cool under the trees.

We looked at the progress ont he house. The laundry room is nearly finished!

Yusef has grown so much since the beginning of summer. Here he is standing in the laundry room next to the window.

The details are being put in at the entrance. It is getting there - but slowly! - I sent my camera to be checked because the zoom lens was giving me some problems and the guy who fixed the camera got smudges ont he inside of the lens! On light coloured pictures there looks like grey smudges. It will have to go back to the shop . . sigh . .  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Will summer ever end?

This summer seems to be dragging on - it's not because I am sitting around with nothing to do - I don't think I have ever been busier - work and social commitments are keeping me on the go.

The kids are bored to death though and that is making me crazy. I never remebered being bored during the summer when I was growing up. There were a million and five things to do - but my kids just want to listen to music, watch cartoons and play with the playstation (actually they quit playstation because it got too boring). The boys have their bicycles and that keeps them happy, but it makes me nervous as I'm always worried they might get into an accident - the drivers here pay no attention to kids playing in the neighborhood.

Nora has been taking English lessons this summer and comes to the school with me to help out. She is enjoying her role as a gopher and it's giving her something to occupy her time. She got a 98 on her last quiz - I was happy but she cried because she wanted to get full marks!

Adam has been working in the medina at his uncle's shop. He is training to be an apprentice silver/gold smith. He grumbles that its too hot to be stuffed into a small workroom with burners that are hot enough to melt metals, but I told him to stick it out and learn something that would be useful - he's skeptical about the usefulness of it all. Oh teenagers! Aren't they wonderful!

Mustafa is off working on the house - poor man is turning grey! Hopefully I will go out to the building site and get some pictures tomorrow. I haven't been to the building site in a while and I hope to see some progress. He's got a new tiler working as the previous one had to go back to his country to see his father who was ill. Mustafa is not so sure about the new tiler - but then he never has any patience with these so called 'skilled' workers.

The Horses

This is a picture of the fountain in the Green Square in Tripoli. It was taken by Pig Sty Avenue - he's got some more interesting pictures of Libya too - go have a look: Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 05, 2005

Jenna and a pony - she's had her hair cut since this picture was taken. I was going to post it before but for somereason the blog was not letting any pictures come through so I had given up. But here it is now - late. Posted by Picasa

Weird eating habits

An interesting thing is going on in my kitchen - it involves our black cat and cucumbers. It seems the cat has a passion for cucumbers. She loves to eat them - which is probably pretty weird. But she loves them to the point where she will steal them right out of the refrigerator when you open the door. If she thinks you are going to open the fridge she comes running over and hangs around waiting by your legs. As soon as the door opens she pops into the fridge and grabs a cucumber - sticking her claws in, then puts it in her mouth and runs off with it. She usually hides under the kitchen table and crunches away until she is finished and then takes up her post, waiting for someone to open the fridge again. She likes tomatoes too, but not as much as cucumbers. Very weird!

Has anyone else got a cat with weird eating habits?

Monday, August 01, 2005

I've been playing with Google Earth - it's really a fun and interesting tool! This is my house in Benashur.

This is an image of the land we are building on. I've outlined the land thatbelongs to us and my two brother-in-laws. Our land is the lighter shaded area withing the red outline.

This is the sight of our building. These satelite images aren't very new - I don't know how often Google updates them. Our trees should be bigger. I will have to keep looking from time to time to see if the images get updated. It's really amazing! We looked at my mothers house today and visited places we have never been to. Bravo Google! Posted by Picasa

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